Models of Success

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:11-13.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. – 1 Timothy 6:6-10.

This week’s Time Magazine cover story is about climbing the ladder of success or staircase of success because it looks like a staircase of buildings on the cover. Some people have a driving ambition to succeed, and they choose this secular model of success. The secular model of success would include CEOs of the largest companies as being the pinnacle of success. Everyone from the lowest employee up is somewhere on the staircase, and they are all climbing. Some are taking one-step at a time, and others are taking two or three at a time. Some have the drive and ambition to make it all the way to the top. Others fall out of the race to the top for various reasons including health problems, marriage problems, dysfunctional family problems, substance abuse problems, and many other problems.

There is, however, another model of success. That model of success is the model of contentment. Those who take this alternative road to success have opted out of the staircase climbing. They have decided to be content with life. They may still reach the pinnacle of what the world would call success; however, if they do it will not be because they have crawled over someone else’s back on their way, or because they have sacrificed their family, or their health on their way to the top (Such as: Joseph, Daniel, Gideon, David, etc.).

Why are we as Christians not more content with our lives? There are three very good reasons: The world, the flesh, and the devil. This flesh craves for all the world has to offer and the devil delights in tempting us with what is available in the world. We are bombarded in the media on a continual basis with all the various products and new improved products that are available if you just have the money to buy them. There will always another vehicle that is better and flashier than the one you have. There will always be another house that is bigger and grander than the one you have. There will always be another job that is more important and powerful than the one you have. There will always be someone who has more money and possessions than you do. There will always be someone who has more education and experience and receives more recognition than you do.

What does the Bible tell us to do about it? The apostle Paul advises Timothy and us to, “…flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life… (1 Timothy 6:11).” Those are still good words of advice. Opt out of the world’s model of success and take advantage of God’s model instead. Because God will provide you with all that you need to be a success in His eyes.

(There are two models for success in life. One model of success is offered by the world and the other is given to us by God.)

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